As the preseason continues to roll on, sportsbooks continue to prime their NFL betting lines in anticipation for another football season. Even though the start of the 2016 NFL season is less than a month away it seems the NFL is still not ready to close the book on last year’s Al Jazeera report that defamed several NFL stars. As the drama continues to unfold it seems that the NFL is getting ready to hand out suspensions in response to the lack of interest the accused players have had in regards to getting to the bottom of this case.
Specifically the players in question are Pittsburgh Steeler’s James Harrison, Green Bay Packer’s Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, as well as Mike Neal who is currently a Free Agent and most recently played for the Packers. Earlier in the preseason the league made it clear that they wanted to have a sit-down with the player’s listed in the report in order to clear the air. However, the players decided to respond with affidavits submitted to the league by the NFLPA on behalf of the players. The league deemed the response inadequate and is now threating to suspend the players if they continue to refuse to cooperate. No NFL betting website could’ve imagined the league being so tedious on a report that has now been recanted.
Adam Schefter, a sports writer, was the first to report on the latest regarding this story. Monday morning Schefter posted to his Facebook page a photo of the letter sent out by Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Labor Policy. The letter outlines the problems with the affidavits that the player’s had sent out recently. The letter stated that the claims made in the affidavits were both vague and inconclusive, and in the case of Mike Neal, false. The affidavits originally claimed that the players had never met Charles Sly, the man responsible for leaking the information, and thus could have never taken the substance known as “Delta-2”. The letter also went on to say that the players had never violated the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, which, in the case of Mike Neal, was false.
Birch’s letter also went on to explicitly state that the players have 10 days to schedule an interview with the league. It’s important to note that this report has already been recanted by the primary source, Charles Sly. Also, two baseball players that were also named in the report have sued Al Jazeera for defamation. Peyton Manning, who another NFL player named in the initial report, has already been cleared of any accusations, but it should be noted that Manning complied with the league’s request for an interview.
While we’re all anxious for the return of NFL betting, these players are anxious for a much more serious issue. As things stand now Harrison, Matthews, and Peppers have three options before them. The first option is the most desirable for the NFL. The players would have to agree to the interviews and in doing so they would break rank from the NFLPA and validate the NFL’s notion that it can interview any player for any reason without a shred of evidence. The second option is to agree to an interview after the suspensions have been issued, ultimately giving Goodell full power over their eligibility. Lastly, they can choose to ignore Birch’s demands and essentially remain suspended indefinitely. This issue is important because the league cannot, or at least should not, be able to demand an interview on unjustified grounds. Let’s just hope this issue has a happy resolution so we can all go bet on sports peacefully.